USAC China: Chengdu

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About

Study abroad in Chengdu, China with USAC! Home of the Panda, and known as "China's China", Chengdu is a destination rich in culture. It is one of the best settings to learn Mandarin Chinese and to experience the Chinese culture and its people.

Students will have the choice of taking an intensive Chinese language program, or taking other various electives revolving around Chinese food, culture, history and more, along with an introductory Chinese language course.

Highlights
  • Choose from multiple levels of Mandarin Chinese—an increasingly important language in today’s global society
  • Visit the home of the panda, the international symbol of Chinese friendship and goodwill
  • Learn about Tibetan culture and history in the Gateway to Tibet
  • Sample spicy Sichuan food and traditional “hot pots”
  • Enjoy picturesque field trips to mountains, rivers and waterfalls

Questions & Answers

Hi Kelli, if you're looking for some general information on the optional tours you can email us at [email protected] and we can put you in touch with the program advisor. They may also be able to put you in touch with a student that has done the optional tours. Thank you!

Reviews

86%
based on 5 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 8.4
  • Housing 8.2
  • Safety 8.2
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Ehren
7/10

not for beginners

i signed up for this not knowing any chinese but wanting to learn. i signed up for beginner level chinese, but my classmates had all already studied for 2 years or more. they wanted an easy class load and grade (their words, not mine). unfortunately for me and the one other student that were the only low level students failed since the first BOOK was covered in the first week. since everyone else already knew the material. needless to say this failing grade derailed my financial aid and then prevented me from finishing my degree. only sign up for the beginner level if you have studied for two years or more or you will lose your financial aid and not graduate.

Response from USAC

Thank you for sharing your experience in Chengdu. We apologize that the language class was not what you expected. We do make the syllabus available to all students prior to studying abroad. I have passed your feedback to the proper department and they will assess the language classes in Chengdu. If you would like to provide additional feedback, we're happy to discuss further. You can email us at [email protected]

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Jessica
9/10

Fun in Panda City

How many times can someone say they touched and got a picture with a baby Panda? Only Chengdu can you have this chance. Where else besides Sichuan can you test the limits of your tolerance for spicy food? And where else besides China can you see people practicing Tai Chi on the corner of a busy street?

The Chengdu program taught me that I have the ability to integrate myself into a culture that is vastly different than my own. The staff in Chengdu is incredibly helpful and wants students to succeed. I was very appreciative of the huge amount of time and effort that they put into making sure students are comfortable, safe and happy. While in Chengdu I had the opportunity to teach English at a school not far from my host university. This opportunity was set up by Wentao, the resident director for the USAC program. I taught one on one classes with six students and enjoyed every minute I had with them.

Chengdu is a huge city, far larger than my hometown of Reno, Nevada. It was overwhelming at first to navigate my way around the many bus routes and subway routes I could take to get to where I needed to go. But I quickly learned that the host university, Southwest University for Nationalities, is perfectly located next to all the major bus routes so I never had trouble getting to where I needed to be.

China is unique in an uncountable number of ways. It is diverse, huge and exotic. But many things about China are also familiar, comfortable and welcoming. You can find anything you would ever need in a huge city like Chengdu. You can also find things you never knew you needed until you see it, like a necklace with your name engraved on a grain of rice.

Every day is a new adventure because so many things are new. The USAC program in Chengdu prepares you to set aside your hesitations and go for it, try something new and if you hate it, well you tried it and you can learn how to move on to something you will like.

Through the process of becoming self-sufficient and independent I realized that it is entirely possible to find my way in a huge city, despite being a small city girl. I became much more confident in myself during my program abroad and I am anxiously awaiting the day that I can return to continue where I left off.

How can this program be improved?
Well, the pollution was a big downfall, not that USAC or staff can do anything about it. But I would say that the program is structured in a way that allows students to get to know each other at their own pace, no one is forced into anything they don't want to do and so the program itself is as close to perfect as it can get.

The one thing I would change with the program is the language partner program. While it was great to meet with other students from Chinese universities, I did not feel that I was able to find a language partner that would adequately be able to help me improve my Chinese. I was lucky that many students who did not attend USAC related events approached me and offered to help me with my Chinese. My closest friend was someone who approached me outside of a convenience store. He offered to help me with my Chinese after we talked briefly about his experience spending two years in England.

I was very lucky to have him to help me with my Chinese language skills but not many other students were able to have that experience. So I would say that it would be great if at the very beginning of the program, in the first week or so, USAC students were able to meet with Chinese students and start developing those relationship right away.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tazia
10/10

China has my Heart!

I absolutely loved my trip to China. USAC was so helpful and the program challenged me to really learn the culture and go outside of my comfort zone! We had field trips to local cities and major cities throughout China and our program advisor and USAC interns always went the extra step to make sure we had everything that we needed. I would highly recommend traveling with USAC if you want to go abroad, whether to China or any other country!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Carol
9/10

Can Do in Chengdu

If you are thinking about traveling to China and specifically Chengdu, I would say you should rest assured that you will be greatly enriched by the USAC program. I spent the summer of 2013 in Chengdu and followed my session up with a visit to Beijing. The dorm and the classrooms are floors apart so you have access to everything you need in one site. The staff and faculty are all very helpful and are glad to share the experience with you. There is plenty of time for educational, cultural and personal enrichment and exploration. You get outstanding value for your currency and there are plenty of shops and dining near the campus. If you get home sick there are some restaurants that are near the campus that may comfort you with familiar dishes. Otherwise you will have plenty of dining choices to experience local cuisine. The field trips and activities they have planned are interesting and plentiful so that you can visit other points of interest outside the campus perimeters.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
peridot
8/10

I love Chengdu!

USAC Chengdu was a great experience. I spent a summer term there and fell in love with the city and the language. Since going, I have decided to study abroad in China again, this time for a whole year, and without that experience in Chengdu in the summer I would not be where I am today in terms of knowing what I want to do career-wise.

I had taken 2 semesters of Mandarin before going and my Mandarin greatly improved while I was there. The downside is that the locals speak Sichuanhua which is difficult to understand and is a different dialect, so opportunities for speaking are still good, but be aware that other places (Beijing) would be better suited for the actual experience of speaking and practicing.

The classes were small. My Chinese class had 3 other students in it. You get a lot of attention, and Wentao Song, the director, is wonderful. One of my teachers, Jiangbo, was incredible and everyone loved him so much, we spent hours playing the "Mafia" card game and got to know him some more. Field trips were great- especialyl Emei Shan, where we got to hike up a mountain and see monkeys.

I would not trade this experience for anything. It was the best summer of my life.

Yes, I recommend

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USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...